English Language Development

Timber Trail Elementary

September 2016

Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!!

I hope you are all having a wonderful beginning of the school year! I'm very excited to work with you and your children this year!

Like last year, I will be sending out a monthly newsletter, which will include information related to ESL (English as a Second Language) services, such as important dates, procedures, conferences, etc. I have included suggestions for activities you can do at home, as well as a new section this year for vocabulary you can reinforce at home. I will also be providing updates about each grade-level's ELD focus during small groups and how those lessons will support academics within the classroom.

What ELD/ESL services will look like this year...

This year, I am still supporting two schools; however, one of the schools has changed. In addition to being at Timber Trail three days a week, I will also be at Pine Grove Elementary two days a week. I am at Pine Grove every Monday and Tuesday, and at Timber Trail Wednesday through Friday.

My services tend to vary depending on grade-level, classroom structure, and each student's English acquisition level. I typically try to meet with grade-level small groups or with students one-on-one for twenty to thirty minutes each day. During this time, I work with the students on very targeted skills related to both their classroom PBL unit and their individual language needs. I work closely with the classroom teacher to ensure my schedule for these small groups do not interfere with important whole-class instruction.

I have also embedded at least a half hour per day of in-class support throughout the week for every grade-level. This gives me the opportunity to ensure that skills are transferring from the small group to the classroom.

Language Focus for September

August 29th-September 30th

Language Focus:

Descriptions and explanations

Topics (Related to grade-level PBL):

Kindergarten--No students

1st Grade--Pillars of Character

The first graders have been learning about being responsible and respectful citizens in their current PBL. During ELD, the first graders will be working on writing descriptions for each character trait. We will be writing short stories that illustrate each trait. I will also be reinforcing the word patterns (--silent e, consonant clusters, etc.) the students are learning during class.

2nd Grade--Personal Narratives and 7 Habits of a Healthy Kid

The second graders are working on the 7 Habits of a Healthy Kid in their classrooms. I will be reinforcing vocabulary related to being proactive and taking initiative. They are also going to be writing short stories. They will be learning how to organize their writing with an appropriate plan. We will also be working on using a variety of sentence structures and adding descriptive vocabulary.

3rd Grade--Putting the Puzzle Together

The first 3rd grade PBL this year involves the students collaborating to create a playspace for students with autism. In addition to learning more about the autism spectrum, they are developing empathy and compassion. In order to support this project, I will be working with the third graders on using precise vocabulary to describe the playspaces they create. During small groups, I am beginning to front load vocabulary and concepts for their next science unit about different types of matter. They will be conducting experiments and recording their observations using precise scientific terminology.

4th Grade--Moon, Stars, and Sun and Narratives

The fourth graders are currently working on a science unit about the moon, stars, and sun. I will be previewing content vocabulary so the students have advanced understanding of new concepts. I will also be supporting the class's study of narratives; they will explore the general structure and style of narratives as they write a create story of their own.

5th Grade--No Students


Because the last official English assessment (ACCESS) was administered in January, I want to reassess students to get a better picture of where they are at right now. I will be using WIDA-Model, a district-approved English assessment, to measure speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The test will take place during the students' typical small group times in September. They don't need to prepare for it or worry about it. I just want to make sure I am meeting all the students' language needs, and updated data will help me do that. :)

How can I help my child at home?

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Reinforcing Academic Vocabulary and Sentence Structure

Learning and using academic language is one of the greatest hurdles all students encounter. However, given that many ELLs are processing more than one language, acquiring academic vocabulary can be a bit more challenging.

Language can be organized using three specific tiers.

  • Tier 1 Basic Language (i.e. general high frequency words, such as do, that, am, are, food, walk, etc.)
  • Tier 2 Instructional Language (i.e. high utility academic vocabulary found in multiple contexts, such as explain, discuss, details, differentiate, analyze, etc.)
  • Tier 3 Domain Specific Vocabulary (i.e. vocabulary related to one content area or subject, such as alliteration for literacy, sum for mathematics, and hypothesis for science)

Beginning and early intermediate English speakers typically focus more on that basic language or "survival" language. However, if students' English proficiencies are to increase, there needs to be a greater focus on Tier 2 and 3 language. As teachers, your child's classroom teacher and I put a lot of thought in providing meaningful vocabulary instruction; however, we can always use your support and help at home!

In addition to the home activities I usually place in this section, I am also going to provide a few vocabulary terms and/or sentence structures you can reinforce at home. This is not meant to add any extra homework or stress. It's just something small that you can build into your conversations. Here is this month's terminology!

Academic Vocabulary:

  • Feature/Quality ("What are some features or qualities you noticed in that movie, book, picture, etc.")
  • Predict (When watching a movie or reading a book: "What do you think or predict will happen next?")

Academic Language Structures:

  • I notice...
  • I observe...

Upcoming Dates!

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August 29--September 2nd

September 5th--9th

September 5th--Labor Day No School

September 12th-16th

September 19th--23rd

September 22nd--Move-a-Thon (Support will be worked around the festivities)

September 23rd--PLC Day (No Students)

September 26th--30th